Starting to load .223


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quicksinner
February 19, 2010, 09:25 PM
As with most, I have a few questions. First is what is the major differences in .223, and 5.56? Somebody told me that using one or the other in the wrong gun could cause damage, is this true? I have a ton of Lake City brass, and have measured it to be at 1.762 on about all of them. I have read that I should start trimming around 1.80, is this right? Now I have Winchester 55gr .223 FMJ's, Accurate 2230 powder, and Winchester primers. From what I have read so far, 22gr would be a safe load, is this good? I am using a Dillon 650, with carbide dies. I have also read about using lube, and will be accordingly. Now about lube, I noticed that powder likes to stick to it inside the case neck, is this ok? I know these might be stupid questions, but I like many others are a little anal when it comes to details. Especially when it comes to my little hobby. Thanks in advance for the help.

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FROGO207
February 19, 2010, 10:42 PM
I cant find it on my info after the crash of my hard drive but google 223 vs 5.56 and there is a site that will explain in depth that the 5.56 uses basically the same case dimensions but a higher working pressure than the 223. The gist is you can fire a 223 round in a rifle made for 5.56 without problems. If you reverse the procedure you will wreck the rifle eventually due to overpressure/slightly more generous chamber dimensions.

ants
February 19, 2010, 11:03 PM
Welcome to the forum, buddy.

5.56x45mm is the designation when new ammo is manufactured to meet military purchase order. Often loaded a lot hotter than new commercial ammo.
.223 Remington is the designation for new commercial ammo, generally not as hot as mil spec.
But the brass is the same. When you reload them, there is no difference. Same-same.

Trim-to length must be measured AFTER resizing, trim to is generally listed in good books like Lyman. Lube inside the neck very lightly, or use a dry lube like powdered mica or powdered graphite. You read the safe range powder charge from bullet or powder manufacturer's published reloading data.

So welcome to reloading, friend. If you don't have them, you need to get some books on reloading and read them. For starters, pick any two: Lyman, Sierra, Speer, Lee, Nosler, Hornady, and ABC's of Reloading.

ants
February 19, 2010, 11:08 PM
Some manufacturers have thicker brass base than others, thus the internal volume may vary. Some folk claim that military brass has thicker wall, but that is not a valid generality. It depends upon the manufacturer. Some are thicker, some are thinner, some are military, some are commercial.

But if you stick to the load data in published manuals, you will be safe regardless of brass origin. Go look up the Accurate Powder web site for that A2230 load with 55 fmj. They have online data you can download in pdf version. I believe you're a little on the low side.

Walkalong
February 19, 2010, 11:10 PM
If you reverse the procedure you will wreck the rifle

A bit overstated.

You can shoot .223 or 5.56 in a 5.56 chamber. You can shoot 5.56 in some .223 chambers. You won't automatically "wreck" a .223 rifle shooting 5.56 in it. Unless you have a ton of hot loaded surplus 5.56 ammo, it is not an issue.

Yes, the carbide .223 dies still need lube. You are putting too much lube on and or in the neck section.

Roll a nylon brush on a lube pad to lube the inside of the neck. The outside can get by with little to no lube. The case body is where the lube is needed most.

Trim to 1.750 after sizing. I lube/size all my cases. Then I tumble them, then I trim/chamfer/deburr them, then another quick tumble. Then I load them. This will also alleviate any powder sticking in the necks.

22 Grs of AA 2230 is under the Speer minimum load with that powder and 55 Gr FMJ, so yes, it should be perfectly safe, although light.

Welcome to THR

Link to Accurate data (http://www.accuratepowder.com/reloading.htm). I see ants and I were typing about the same time.

GBJUDGE
February 19, 2010, 11:15 PM
The brass dimensions are the same. The difference is in the chamber of the barrel. In the 5.56 chamber there is a little more leade in the throat than in the commercial .223 chamber. Basically, using ammo marked as 5.56 in a rifle chambered to .223 specs can create a higher pressure situation that may be unsafe. If your barrel is marked for 5.56 you will have no problem with either ammo designation.

Walkalong
February 19, 2010, 11:18 PM
Basically, using ammo marked as 5.56 in a rifle chambered to .223 specs can create a higher pressure situation that may be unsafe.Much better. ;)

Welcome to THR GBJUDGE

quicksinner
February 20, 2010, 04:39 AM
Wow thanks for welcome and all the responses. Definately some good info. I've been loading for about a year or so. Started out with the simple 9mm, moved up to 45's, and now .223's. My next calibers will be 45lc and .380. So for so good, knock on wood. I have to say the Dillon 650 pretty much makes it idiot proof, especially when u have the powder check.

Skylerbone
February 20, 2010, 05:31 AM
QS, we first need to know what you are loading for. Do you shoot a bolt action or an AR? A single shot perhaps? This will go a long way toward defining what you do with reloading. If you have a bolt or single shot you may wish to purchase a neck sizer in addition to your full length sizing die. If not, don't bother, chances are good any other action will have problems.

If you shoot an auto loader, you might consider sticking to cannelure bullets for now and increase your crimp a bit. You can sacrifice a bit of accuracy now for the sake of safety. Also, consider CCI #41 primers (if you can find them) for any autoloader. The CCI #400 is an acceptable alternative.

I second using a pad and lubing 5 cases at a time keeping the necks off to the side of the pad for full length sizing. Get a case prep center for lubing the necks with mica or graphite (its a small plastic box with what look like cleaning brushes sticking up and a well for your dry lube). Remember to wipe off excess lube after resizing, resize ALL new brass and clean your dies out following resizing.

It sounds simple enough but RTFM (Read The Friggin Manual) is a MUST. Every powder is different and the manufacturers, both bullet and powder, will give you up to date info on safe loads. You might like Loadbooks available at MidwayUSA as they are caliber specific.

Remember to check check check your cases for pressure signs after each shot, exceeding OAL can increase pressure as easily as overcharging. Try to load batches of 5 rounds for each powder charge to see how they group and keep each batch seperate. I recommend ziplock bags with labels and placing the spent brass back into their labeled bags after firing.

So much more but that should get you started. Good luck on your load work up, consider switching to Varget when the Accurate runs out.

ole farmerbuck
February 20, 2010, 07:37 AM
have measured it to be at 1.762 on about all of them. I have read that I should start trimming around 1.80, is this right?

I dont think so. The max is 1.760, trim to 1.750.

RainDodger
February 20, 2010, 09:00 AM
All good information here. I haven't seen anyone mention the fact that the latest Hornady book has a data section on 5.56X45 in addition to the .223 Rem. section. I have not reviewed it for differences, but it would probably be beneficial to take a look.

I wouldn't worry about it though. If you use the data for .223 Rem, it should be fine in any rifle chambered for it, or a 5.56 chamber.

mallc
February 20, 2010, 09:13 AM
Always pay attention to Walkalong's recommendations and you won't go wrong.

Scott

JDGray
February 20, 2010, 09:16 AM
Don't be dissapointed with your accuracy of the Win 55gr FMJ! Those bullets suck for accuracy! I've turned to Seirra 60gr Varminters, and have never looked back. (YMMV)

Don't get me wrong, they'll pattern for you at 100yrds, and are great for carbine courses, for up close stuff. If shooting for groups, buy something else.

rcmodel
February 20, 2010, 12:46 PM
Hornady has a data section on 5.56X45 in addition to the .223 Rem.Yes, and no.

It has a chapter for 5.56 NATO, but only using heavy bullets in 1/9 barrels.
It only covers 68 & 75 grain in a 1/9 AR-15.

If you want lighter bullet 5.56 / .223 data you look in the .223 Rem chapter.
It covers 40 through 60 grain bullets in a Rem 700 1/12 barrel.

Now about lube, I noticed that powder likes to stick to it inside the case neck,You are using too much lube.

A very thin film of lube on the outside is all you need.
Case necks can be lubed by pressing about every 3rd or 4th on one a lube pad.
Or by rolling a nylon bore brush on a lube pad and cleaning the case necks with it.

A very small amount of lube goes a long long ways!

rc

Skylerbone
February 20, 2010, 01:08 PM
For $25 you can pick up an L. E. Wilson Headspace Gage and tell in an instant whether each case is within SAAMI specs and which will need to be trimmed. Used propperly, it will give you information about your chamber size, valuable for determining overall case length as well as allowing you to fine tune your dies for sizing.

In regards to the 55gr. FMJ, it has put down more man-sized targets than all the other available bullet weights combined (in this caliber). It does so with reasonable accuracy, is great for home defense as it fragments quickly to protect unintended targets and can still shoot sub MOA groups at 200yds. There are numerous bullets ballistically superior to it and, depending on your intended use, may be a better choice for you. I would recommend the Hornady 55gr. VMax as a good starter, about $16/100.

You've got a great press in that Dillon, many of us start out with a single stage and add a second or third for different operations, especially if you deprime before tumbling. You can grab an inexpensive Lee press and deprimer to handle your dirty brass (that just sounds wrong) and save your progressive setup for loading.

quicksinner
February 20, 2010, 02:29 PM
Thanks guys. For now I just have a Colt AR-15, and my brother in law has an AR-15, I wanna say the brand was American or something. I knew the lube was a bit much, so I'll ease that up.

ants
February 20, 2010, 03:24 PM
Sometimes we like to make it more complicated (for good reasons) but as you find with 9mm and 45acp you can keep it simple or get as complicated as you want. Rifle reloading can get even more complicated, but you can keep it simple until you learn more and get really good at it.

Sizing brass in for an AR:
For both AR15 rifles, it will be important to full-length size the brass and make sure it fits the chamber before priming and loading it. If the sized brass doesn't drop right in, you need to tighten the sizing die down. Screw the die down into the press until it touches the shellholder, size a case and try it in the chamber. If it doesn't fit, try screwing the die down another 1/8 to a 1/4 turn at a time until the brass fits the chamber. The sized brass should chamber easily with forcing it, and it should extract just as easily.

Once you get the die adjustment right, you're good to go and have fun with it.

243winxb
February 20, 2010, 03:37 PM
The lube in the neck should be pulled out by the expander. RCBS lube will not hurt powder. Much more info here, with loading data for auto or bolt guns. Click the Sierra icons. http://www.6mmbr.com/223Rem.html

gdcpony
February 21, 2010, 01:39 AM
Just for the record an FMJ bullet does NOT fragment well. It penetrates and is used by those who want small holes in the furs they plan to sell. It is also used for its ability to get through cover (depending on exact bullet construction) like walls and body armor. I would NEVER use it for home defense. A small (fox) animal hit with one can go a LONG way so how long do you think a human can go before it brings him down? Plus, a .223 can send an FMJ bullet through the walls in your home and perhaps in to the house of your neighbor. There are horror stories out there regarding this and I as a hunter who has seen the different bullets kill believe them. A good varmint bullet will serve this role better, plus they tend to be a good bit more consistent in their precision.

For plinking and such your load is extremely conservative. The minimum I can find is 22.5gr of A2230 to a 55gr bullet. A2230 was designed to be a clean burning powder for the AR platform. It is that, though it still left residue. My best load for an AR with it was a 50gr Blitzking over the max load of 25.0gr. It made a mess of many a 'yote in my AR.

When you run out of that powder try H335 or Varget. In .223 they have been my best overall performers in any .223 rifle with H335 being slightly more accurate in my current AR.

Almost all AR's will accept both .223 and 5.56 ammo. I can't promise, but I'd be willing to bet Colt's have the 5.56 chamber anyway. You should be safe there.

Skylerbone
February 21, 2010, 03:38 AM
Pony, have you ever seen what a 55gr FMJ shot out of a .223 does when it hits drywall? My guess is no. I watched a demonstration with MY OWN TWO EYES and let me tell you by the time it hit the second piece spaced 12 feet apart there were three tiny fragments which all remained embedded in that Sheetrock. The 9mm hollowpoint blew through four sheets of drywall and exited a sheet of aluminum siding placed behind the fourth wall never to be heard from again. People's misconceptions about what works in certain situations can put lives at risk needlessly. I am well aware what the round can do to a coyote but a coyote isn't made of gypsum.

For the record, use at your own risk, your starting powder charge should be 23.4 grains and should not exceed 26.0 grains. Remember: the Internet is not your friend. It is not infallable. It doesn't much care for your haircut and it is no substitute for true knowledge. Buy the books because I do care if someone, especially a fellow shooter blows himself up. Reloading is deceptively simple in theory yet Hornady tests reveal that 90% of the time their factory ammo outshoots handloaded. Seeing some of the responses on here about not needing this step or some fancy measuring device I tend to believe Hornady's findings.

P.S. The reason for the Varget suggestions are two fold: first it's excellent powder. Secondly it will need a larger charge which leaves less chance of a double charge (not likely) and less empty space in your cartridge.

gdcpony
February 21, 2010, 01:47 PM
Pony, have you ever seen what a 55gr FMJ shot out of a .223 does when it hits drywall? My guess is no. I watched a demonstration with MY OWN TWO EYES and let me tell you by the time it hit the second piece spaced 12 feet apart there were three tiny fragments which all remained embedded in that Sheetrock. The 9mm hollowpoint blew through four sheets of drywall and exited a sheet of aluminum siding placed behind the fourth wall never to be heard from again. People's misconceptions about what works in certain situations can put lives at risk needlessly. I am well aware what the round can do to a coyote but a coyote isn't made of gypsum.

For the record, use at your own risk, your starting powder charge should be 23.4 grains and should not exceed 26.0 grains. Remember: the Internet is not your friend. It is not infallable. It doesn't much care for your haircut and it is no substitute for true knowledge. Buy the books because I do care if someone, especially a fellow shooter blows himself up. Reloading is deceptively simple in theory yet Hornady tests reveal that 90% of the time their factory ammo outshoots handloaded. Seeing some of the responses on here about not needing this step or some fancy measuring device I tend to believe Hornady's findings.

P.S. The reason for the Varget suggestions are two fold: first it's excellent powder. Secondly it will need a larger charge which leaves less chance of a double charge (not likely) and less empty space in your cartridge.
I've shot tons of .223's into many targets. I won't say the demo you saw was invalid. I am sure many FMJ's will do that. The fact that I can shoot them THROUGH hardwoods (cherry, oak, hickory) is also proven. They also ricochet more than a .22lr and go allot farther when they do. I won't trust them. Sorry, they are cheap, mostly reliable for practice, and plentiful, but not made for defense or hunting in my opinion.

I am also sure they won't expand well in a flesh target. The "tumbling" they may or may not do leaves a wound channel that is not nearly as traumatic as a good varmint round . I have emptied the chest cavity of a coyote unto the ground out of the dime sized exit wound of a Blitzking. I have found yotes shot by FMJ ammo a quarter mile away still breathing with a hole in their lungs.

I do agree with the caution of taking loads from the internet. I would trust the site from the manufacturer, but not private people. Even me. I believe the site for Acurate has been posted, and here is Hodgdons http://data.hodgdon.com/main_menu.asp. They are great load sources. I like to buy the books too has they are handy with a ton of tips in them.
Also a max load of Varget is a "compressed" load in a 36gr through 55gr bullet. You literally smash down the powder to seat the bullet. I love that for many reasons. One of which is the safety factor as my children are starting to learn how to load for their own .223's (11 and 8yrs old and supervised VERY closely).

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